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Laying the groundwork for your 2021 fundraising plan

Fundraising is the foundation for your work—start by putting your supporters at the center and adopting strategies that can scale.

Laying the groundwork for your 2021 fundraising plan

For nonprofits everywhere, fundraising strategies likely looked a little different in 2020, and many are still working to adjust to ever-changing circumstances. But, while incredibly tough to navigate, the sudden push to move more organizing efforts online inspired nonprofits to explore new fundraising tactics and grow despite the state of the world. 

And these tactics aren’t meant to stay behind in 2020they should most definitely follow you into the new year.

Focus on building relationships that last
Whether you receive a donation of $5 or $500, each gift is an act of generosity and gratitude for your work, and the human behind that gift is on your (metaphorical) team. 

When was the last time you checked in with your donorsnot just sent a transactional email thanking them for their donation, but really checked in with them one-to-one? If you haven’t reached out to get a better understanding of what brought them to your cause, asked if there are other ways they’d like to get involved, and checked if they’d be willing to donate againthen you’re missing a major opportunity to deepen that supporter relationship.

We know sending hundreds if not thousands of 1:1-style emails may sound daunting, but with tools like smart fields you can get all the personalization you need without the countless hours spent on execution.

Plus, when the time comes, asking your donors to give again doesn’t have to be awkward and complicated. It can be as simple as giving them an additional box to check on your donation page to choose between one-time, monthly or annual donations. Remember: the moment they make a donation is the beginning of your relationship with them, not the end of it. 

Bring your community together online
This past year, online community became more important than ever before. While traditional events were off the table, digital events took off as a way to connect with other humans in a time of overwhelming isolationand fundraising events were no exception. Although the switch to digital fundraising events may have been born out of a crisis-driven need, digital events are always an opportunity to reach a huge audience with no geographic or physical limitationsand very little monetary investment. Regardless of your ability to get back to in-person events in the new year, we recommend keeping virtual fundraising events in the mix by hosting a hybrid event or two.

What’s more, you can continue to grow the connections you make during your events long after the programming is finished using an automated email series. And if you really want to go the extra mile, you can even use an email series to get to know your event RSVPs before your event with tools like surveys to keep them engaged and excited. Afterwards, you can get their feedback on how it went and provide them with the next step to take in their supporter journey with your organization.

Keep your supporters engaged
The events of 2020 inspired many people to take action in new, inspiring ways. You might have seen this reflected in your own community as supporters (both old and new) took an added interest in your cause. Make sure you hold on to that momentum as you head into a new year by helping your supporters see the incredible impact they’ve made with public-facing progress bars on your donation pages. For an extra burst of competitive motivation, you can even set up a leaderboard to showcase your top fundraisers and let them know where they stand.

Given that your supporters might not be visiting your donation pages on the regular, you’ll want to incorporate occasional email updates as a way to keep your community informed as well. Your updates can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly and can include information on all that your supporters have helped you accomplish with their donations, as well as updates on just how close you are to meeting your overall fundraising goals thanks to their help. 

Distribute leadership to your community
When times get tough, the ability to lean on your community for help becomes much more important. With integrated software that puts all your organizing work in one place, mobilizing your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf is streamlined through filters and tagging, which help you quickly identify who in your community would be best suited for the taskand reach out at a moment’s notice.

Whether you’d like them to make an ask on your behalf via their social networks or reach out to friends and family 1:1recruiter IDs make it simple for you to keep track of each supporter’s involvement in bringing in new donations.

And when you’ve got supporters that are excited and willing to take on more, make sure you’re giving them the digital tools to step up their fundraising game. Personal fundraising pages are a great way to give them ownership over their individual goals and allow them to customize their page to highlight their story with your organization and cause. 

As a new year starts, we hope your fundraising efforts continue to grow in the coming monthsand that your community grows along with you. 

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